Project Closure helps communication alumnus finish degree
By Alex Koumas, firstname.lastname@example.org
RIGHT: Larry Davis, of WKRC in Cincinnati, recently finished a communication degree from Ohio University more than 35 years after leaving campus. Provided photo.
ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 13, 2011) – Thanks to a unique program in the Scripps College of Communication, Larry Davis has completed the requirements for a degree he began in the early 70s.
Davis, of Cincinnati, left Ohio University in 1975, just 14 credit hours shy of a degree in Radio Television in the School of Telecommunications, now known as The School of Media Arts and Studies.
“At the time I went looking for a job and was hoping that I would have one by the time I graduated,” Davis explained. “The last place that I looked actually hired me on the spot, and I decided to take the job and try to work in the rest of the credit hours when I could. At the time, I felt that I couldn’t pass it up, and it was an experience that I will never forget.”
Davis ended up spending 28 years in radio news, and then decided to make the move to California to fill a position at a dot-com start up company, but was later laid off. Davis then launched his career in television at WKRC in Cincinnati in 2001 on the assignment desk and as a field producer before officially becoming a writer in 2003.
After deciding he wanted to finish his degree, Davis contacted Vicki Stewart, the Student Services Specialist in the Scripps College of Communication. He credits her willingness and encouragement for helping him graduate and to finally experience that feeling of achievement.
“I cannot even tell you the feeling that I had walking across the ceremony stage,” Davis said about participating in Commencement in June. “It was really special.”
Throughout all of his success in the workplace over the years, Davis still believes that earning his college degree is one of his most cherished accomplishments. Stewart said it was “a real joy” to assist Davis in finding a way to finish his degree.
“Larry was genuinely determined to finalize this chapter in his professional career,” Stewart explained.“He began his ‘second journey’ of completing his degree in 2003.He had obstacles along the way, but his determination to earn his degree was his driving force to work until his degree was conferred.”
Former Dean’s Office staff Steve Orth created Project Closure in 1999 for Scripps College of Communication non-graduates who were approximately a quarter or two short of earning their college degree.
“From time to time we would have a student call and explain that they had left 20 years ago and only had two classes left to graduate,” Orth explained. “This happened more often than we thought, and I kind of got the idea to take the initiative to find those students instead of them having to find us.”
Orth worked with the Registrar’s Office and found well over 100 students suitable for the program. These students were then contacted and encouraged to finish their graduation requirements through correspondence courses, course credit by examination, independent learning projects and online classes.
“Our goal was to let them finish that degree without having to return to campus,” Orth said.
To learn more about Project Closure, visit www.ohio.edu/infocus/projectclosure. If you left Ohio University within a couple quarters of a degree in communication, please call the Dean’s Office at (740) 593-4883 to determine if you are eligible for the program.